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Amy Friedman

Miles From Home

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The picture of you on the billboard at the train station is vandalized daily. Every night it is replaced, though never with the same photo. Each morning I stand beside it for shelter from the wind and find you in a different mood, a different pose. One time you were playing tennis, smiling wryly, the name of the drug company you were shilling for obscured by your racket. In another shot you appeared despondent, holding a cat in a close up that faintly revealed the scar I gave you that night I dreamt I was being chased by your mother and flailed about, my ring catching the side of your right cheek. Yesterday I climbed the platform to find you holding out a key, reaching for the door to a house that wasn't ours. I pulled out a Sharpie and scrawled our address along the stone entrance, hoping you'd find your way back.

Homeless, Need Money For A Ladder

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Lilith has staked her beggar's claim at the Fullerton highway exit; covenants to watch over three religious neighbors coupled with one night of sex under the overpass with its last claimant were the cost of this desirable station. Like a cannibalized tabloid star, she veils her face with a scarf to avoid recognition, her bible belt barely holding up remnants of tattered gauzy skirt that still cling to her wasted middle, her wings a brown sugar cast from months in the sun. She lifts her panhandler's sign, scrawled on the back of a discarded lawn poster promoting a local family values congressman, now embroiled in a prostitution scandal. "Homeless and never been in love," it reads. Cars plow through the phantom body of this street Cinderella who partied past midnight, as she clenches her hollow collection cup.

Inside The Frame

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Sand-swept skies hang eyebrow level over the unnamed desert town in which we find ourselves lost, surrounded by sheep and a sense of profound responsibility. In the distance sits a child, a duplicate of our nephew. A lean-to appears before us battered and vein-raw, uninhabited save for a small pile of octagonal rocks in a corner, squealing for escape. We are colorfully dressed in matching silk robes, my hair long and pulled back, you with a beard made from unkept promises. We lean our heads against the stained glass scene in which we are trapped, stymied by the knowledge that our only shot at egress is through the chapel.

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